There is a sinkhole in the backyard, a spot where the previous owners removed a dead oak. I used to pour sand into the holes that formed as the roots rotted beneath the sod.
Later I paid a tree-cutter to take down a gnarly young oak and grind down the stump. Now its subterranean decay creates a natural cistern. Last autumn, I poured out a nearly-full bag of soil into it and spread grass seeds over top.
The grass hasn’t appeared yet, but the nutrient-rich soil brought out dormant crocuses: bright yellow and waxy purple. Even if it snows again, these hardy harbingers of spring are here.